Safe Restart Funding for Child Care and Early Years Programs
On October 2, 2020, Bruce County was allocated $703,088 in Safe Restart Funding (SRF) from the Ministry of Education to support local child care operators that have a purchase of service agreement with Bruce County for general operating and/or fee subsidies, as well as EarlyON Child and Family Centres and Special Needs Resourcing. The SRF will be used for additional personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning, additional staff to meet health and safety requirements, and support for short term vacancies, as operators transition to return to full capacity.
Bruce County’s Human Services Committee has approved that the 2020 budget be amended to reflect the revenue and expenditures for Safe Restart Funding (SRF) for child care and early years programs under the Child Care and EarlyON Child and Family Centres Transfer Payment Agreement. The Committee also approved that the SRF be administered and allocated by staff following the Ministry of Education funding guidelines.
Land Use Service Delivery Review (Official Plan Best Practices)
Bruce County’s Planning and Development Committee has endorsed the new Land Use Service Delivery Review (Official Plan Best Practices) Final Report and the 27 recommendations that will be used to inform the process for developing the new Bruce County Official Plan and to continue service delivery improvement through the land use planning transformation.
Identified opportunities for the new Bruce County Official Plan include:
- Link the diverse areas of Bruce County in a coordinated planning framework
- Supporting Agriculture and Agri-Business
- Focusing on flexible planning policies and tools that are up to date
- Climate Change
- Addressing Transportation
- Addressing Housing
- Indigenous community engagement
- Creating an accessible, inspiring document
Workforce Development & Attraction Strategy
Bruce County’s Planning and Development Committee endorsed the new Workforce Development and Attraction Strategy, which, over the next five years, will grow and support the local labour force, spur business growth, and advance an inclusive community willing and able to take on the challenges of today and tomorrow.
This new Workforce Development & Attraction Strategy will explore innovative ways of attracting, retaining, and training employees, which will help local businesses and entrepreneurs overcome labour force challenges.
Analysis during the strategy’s creation noted that the region’s available workforce decreased by 10.9% from 2004 to 2016, and that approximately 22,000 people are nearing retirement in the next 5-10 years. These overwhelming numbers in Bruce County’s workforce challenges led to a focused 4-pronged approach: Continuous Data Collection, Attraction, Retention, and Skills Building.
Plan the Bruce: Agriculture
Bruce County’s Planning and Development Committee was presented with an interim report on the Plan the Bruce Agriculture Discussion Paper, which will help form the new Official Plan.
Key topics of focus that will inform public consultation and policy development for Agriculture as it moves forward include: prime agricultural area mapping, minimum size for new agricultural lots, surplus farm dwelling severances, new residential lots in woodlots, industrial and commercial uses on farms, urban-agriculture edge planning, and cannabis production.
Discover more about the new Official Plan, and join the conversation, at www.planthebruce.ca
Land Use Service Delivery (Development Fees Review)
Bruce County’s Planning and Development Committee was presented with an interim report on a review of Development Fees, which is part of a larger body of work focused on improving and enhancing land use service delivery.
The report highlights that a study of the internal costs of the land use planning service delivery of Bruce County shows cost recovery from three different perspectives:
- 50% cost recovery from fees with reference to only the direct Activity Costs directly attributable to providing the serve.
- 36% cost recovery from fees, by adding an appropriate attribution of departmental overhead to the direct costs.
- 14% cost recovery from fees by taking into account the total planning land use division costs and comparing it as a percentage of total revenue.
The interim report also showcases that Bruce County’s development application fees are below comparable peer Counties’ average, and are in some cases the lowest.
County supports pursuit of Rural Economic Development Grant
Bruce County provided a letter of support for the Western Ontario Warden’s Caucus’s (WOWC) application for the Targeted Rural Economic Development (RED) grant. This grant allows for the completion of the WOWC agri-food and manufacturing mapping project which will result in current, accurate data that can be used to inform and strategize provincial and municipal solutions for economic development, planning, and pandemic response and recovery. Mapping will support the expansion of the Agricultural Systems approach for planning purposes across the province. Results will help demonstrate the economic impact and value of the agri-food and manufacturing sectors and strengthen the recovery post-COVID to the provincial, regional, and municipal economies.
Monitoring Bruce County’s Tourism Industry
The COVID-19 Pandemic that hit mid-March continues to significantly impact businesses across the region, especially those in the tourism industry. These businesses were the first to feel the impact and will likely take the longest to recover. As such, County staff are taking monthly assessments of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the tourism industry using business and visitor surveys. This analysis will acknowledge when the industry begins to rebound as more businesses open and adapt as restrictions are eased and increased revenue generation is realized. Staff and operators will be able to build potential actions to support the tourism industry in Bruce County and its move back into a growth position post-pandemic.
Survey results from September show that 12% of re-contacted businesses surveyed were affected by COVID-19 and do not seem to have recovered. In general, restaurants, bars, and retail businesses were more likely to have remained open from April to September or closed only in March/April but opened for the rest of the pandemic. Specialty food stores, accommodations, and recreation, entertainment, and cultural institutions were either slow to re-open or were closed most of the months.
Planning Applications in Bruce County
- 16 new planning applications were made in September
- An LPAT appeal of a zoning change to permit a 29-unit residential proposal in Tiverton was recently resolved allowing the development to proceed.
- Two rezoning applications were received in Brockton for cannabis production facilities. One is proposed in Eastridge Business Park; the other is proposed in the former Energizer plant.
- Staff approved a Local Official Plan Amendment to permit a change of use from a Church to a mixed commercial/residential use in Walkerton.
Ride for Hire Transportation Strategy
Bruce County’s Transportation and Environmental Services Committee has approved the interim strategy to develop ride for hire capacity (taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc.) in Bruce County. Currently, the responsibility for ride for hire services lies squarely with lower-tier municipalities. The scheduled Master Transportation Plan will address ride for hire transportation, setting conditions to modernize affordable taxi services and create legislation that will seize the opportunity for services like Uber and Lyft to operate in Bruce County when they express interest.
New Snowplow Arriving in 2021
Bruce County’s Transportation and Environmental Services Committee has approved the purchase of a tandem axle cab and chassis snowplow for delivery and use in 2021. The approximate cost of this snowplow is $175,000 and it is part of vehicle and machinery equipment replacement plans scheduled for the 2021 budget.
Off-Road Vehicle Use on County Roads
Bruce County currently has a by-law that allows for the use of All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) on specific County Roads, but will not pursue making an amendment to allow for off-road motorcycles (ORM) and extreme-terrain vehicles (ETV), which were recently added as permitted on-road vehicle types by the province. Should the demand grow to connect with ORM/ATV trails networks or for other uses, the Transportation and Environmental Services Committee will discuss amending the current County ATV by-law to include more roads or more vehicle types.
Since the use of ATVs has been permitted on specific County Roads, there has been additional maintenance work required to the road shoulders and to remove debris from the right of ways, at no additional expense to the budget.
Road Projects Getting Retendered
West Road Repair Plan: Bruce County’s Transportation and Environmental Services Department will be retendering the West Road repair plan in the Winter or early-Spring of 2021. The original tender closed with proposals for higher than estimated costs due to construction schedules being limited by COVID-19, pushing the project over the $450,000 budget. Transportation and Environmental Services operations staff will work to maintain the road in its current condition until the planned project moves forward in 2021.
Jenny Street (Wiarton) Reconstruction: After undesirable results through three tendering attempts, the Jenny Street reconstruction project in Wiarton will be reposted with other capital work during this winter season to attract more bidders. A review of a previous cost-sharing agreement with the Town of South Bruce Peninsula will be undertaken to ensure that the agreed upon funds can be carried over to 2021.
2020 Capital Projects in Motion
In 2020, Bruce County’s Transportation and Environmental Services Department has been working hard to complete $11,949,901 in capital infrastructure projects (roads, bridges, fleet, equipment, facilities). The following list provides a status update for major infrastructure capital projects for 2020.
- Cold in Place Recycling on Bruce Road 3 and Bruce Road 4 has been completed below budget, with a reduced scope on Bruce Road 3.
- Repair on Starks Bridge, Bruce Road 1 (Paisley) has been completed below budget.
- Repair on George Grant Bridge, Bruce Road 11 (Paisley) is on time, on scope, and on budget.
- Repair on John Black Bridge, Bruce Road 10 (Scone), is on time, on scope, and on budget.
- Replacement of McCurdy Bridge (south of Paisley) is on time, on scope, and on budget.
- Reconstruction of Bruce Road 30 at 1st Avenue N (Chesley) is on time, on scope, and on budget.
- Replacement of Oswald Bridge, Bruce Road 30 (Chesley) is on time, on scope, and below budget.
- Rehabilitation and upgrade on Bruce Road 25 (Phase 2) is on time, on scope, and $30,000 over budget.
- Rehabilitation and upgrade of Bruce Road 25 (Phase 3) is on time, on scope, and on budget.
- Bruce Road 33 Realignment (Bruce Road 25 Phase 4) is on time, on scope, and on budget.
- Replacement of Arran Township Shed Bridge (Tara) has been deferred to 2021.
- Replacement of Teeswater River Bridge (Paisley) is on time, on scope, and on budget.
- Repair on Blackwell Bridge, Bruce Road 23 (Tiverton) is on time, on scope, and on budget.
- Repair on Robinson B line Bridge, Bruce Road 23 (Tiverton) is on time, on scope, and on budget.
This publication identifies highlights from recent Bruce County Council and Committee meetings. Bruce County’s Office of the CAO maintains complete agendas and minutes from all Council and Committee meetings, which can be reviewed at www.brucecounty.on.ca/government/agendas-and-minutes